This project is a part of our shared program with Western Water And Sanitation Forum (WEWASAFO). Our team is pleased to directly share the below report (edited for clarity, as needed).
Welcome to the School
Students and their teachers arrive at school around 6:45am. Morning study hall starts at 7am and goes until assembly at 8am, when students listen to announcements from the headteacher. Normal classes begin at 8:15am and go until 4pm with an hour's break for lunch.
507 students attend Mudete Primary School, of which 254 are boys and 253 are girls. They are taught by 13 teachers, and the school also employs two support staff. (Editor's Note: While this many people may have access on any given day, realistically a single water source can only support a population of 350-500 people. To learn more, click here.)
We were introduced to Mudete Primary School through its headteacher, who came directly to our office asking for help.
Mudete Primary School has no water, and must send its students out into the surrounding community when they're thirsty. The most popular water source is an open spring that slowly flows through a grassy area. Students bring their plastic containers and dip the openings underwater until full. Even though this water is visibly contaminated, it is used for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.
After drinking, students suffer from typhoid, cholera, and other waterborne illnesses. Not only are students missing valuable class time to fetch water, but they're also missing school because they're home sick.
The sanitation situation is one of the worst we've seen, too. There are only six useable latrines for the boys. There used to be another eight for the girls, but those collapsed just a few months ago. The teachers decided to share two of their latrines with the girls. It's not uncommon to waste almost half of class waiting for the majority of girls to return from the latrines.
Deputy Headteacher Muguni Phoebe confirmed this, saying "Currently we don't have any functioning toilet for the girl child. All the eight toilets for the girl child collapsed due to heavy rains in this area. We fear for our hygiene, as toilets are a basic sanitation facility in an institution. Currently we have donated two doors for the teachers to our girls. Teachers now share with the polytechnic staff, which does inconvenience us."
Even with these difficulties, school administration has done its best to offer hygiene and sanitation opportunities to its pupils. There is a plastic hand-washing station with soap, and a dish rack for drying lunch utensils. There's also a good garbage pit.
Plans: Hygiene and Sanitation Training and Hand-Washing Stations
Training will be held for two days. The facilitator will use PHAST (participatory hygiene and sanitation transformation), ABCD (asset-based community development), CTC (child to child), lectures, group discussions, and handouts to teach health topics and ways to promote good practices within the school. The CTC method will prepare students to lead other students into healthy habits, as well as kickstart a CTC club for the school. This CTC club will oversee the new facilities, such as hand-washing stations, and make sure they are kept clean and in working condition. The two hand-washing stations will be delivered to the school, and the club will fill them with water on a daily basis and make sure there is always a cleaning agent such as soap or ash.
Plans: VIP Latrines
Two triple-door latrines will be constructed with local materials that the school will help gather. It will be up to the school to divide these six latrine doors between the students to make both boys and girls comfortable. And with a new source of water on school grounds, students and staff should have enough to keep these new latrines clean.
Plans: Rainwater Catchment Tank
A 50,000-liter rainwater catchment tank will help alleviate the water crisis at this school. The school will also help gather the needed materials such as sand, rocks, and water from the spring for mixing cement. Once finished, this tank can begin catching rainfall that will be used by the school’s students and staff. Students will no longer be distracted by their water needs.
We and the school strongly believe that with this assistance, standards will significantly improve. These higher standards will translate to better academic performance!